The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of the books that I picked up at the airport in Washington after leaving Dee and her family. It was a completely random buy, I only bought it because I liked the cover and I wanted to spend some money on books. What I didn’t know was that The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a story about a teenager called Annabelle, who lives with her alcoholic mother in Hollywood. It’s the story of their journey together as Janie beats her addiction and starts up her acting career again, and as Annabelle finds love. Except the love stuff isn’t all that important to me because, ew, insta-love.
The book starts out before Janie goes to rehab, and we are introduced to both her and Annabelle, who has been looking after her mother for a long time while she dealt with alcoholism and depression. I didn’t feel any connection towards Annabelle, because I have never had to experience anything like this, but I did really like her from the beginning. One thing that Annabelle and I have in common is that we both suffer from anxiety, although Annabelle’s is a lot more severe than mine. It was great to see her eventually come to terms with things and slowly become less dependent on certain things, and to come out of her comfort zone.
Annabelle also loves making lists, since they help her with her anxiety and they help to deal with what’s going on at home with her mother. This is another thing the two of us have in common, because making lists is, for me, akin to going for a run or squeezing a stress ball. A lot of the lists are included in the book, which I loved because lists.
This book isn’t necessarily a Rich People Drama (I seriously need to trademark that term) read, since it deals with deeper issues, but I felt it was kind of similar due to the fact that Janie was a successful actress on a sitcom, and both her and Annabelle are talked about on gossip blogs. This was a nice addition to the story, since I love to read stories set in Hollywood, or about fictional famous people.
The Corner of Bitter and Sweet isn’t a fluffy read by any means, although it felt as though Robin Palmer tried to add at least some fluff when it came to the romance. Annabelle meets a guy about 300 pages into the novel, and from then on she’s in love with him. Well, it’s not a “I saw him and I knew we were going to marry” insta-love, it’s more of a “We went on three dates and he told me he loved me” insta-love, which is just as bad, in my opinion. I wasn’t a fan of the romance at all, and I wish it had been left out, or perhaps only hinted at instead of slowly building up to become an “important” part of the story.
Annabelle’s relationship with her mother is what takes centre stage, though, and I am so happy about that. Seeing them go from rock bottom to slowly start to rebuild their relationship evoked the best feeling in me. There’s a monologue from Annabelle near the end that made me tear up, because I was really rooting for the two of them.
Aside from the love interest (eh) and her mother (!), Annabelle also has a bunch of other important relationships in The Corner of Bitter and Sweet. We see her bond with a fellow child of an alcoholic, a famous actor who is basically a younger Leo DiCaprio, and then, of course, is the man who she always saw as her father. All of these relationships are equally important, and I didn’t feel as though any of them took away from the story or Annabelle’s character. They were like her little support group, even if they weren’t with her the entire time. I loved it.
The Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a good read. While it’s not a favourite of mine, I did appreciate how Robin Palmer dealt with tough subjects such as alcoholism, anxiety, and drug abuse, and I would recommend that you give this book a go. In typical Speak fashion, it’s a book that really hits you with how it deals with those matters, and it’s one that will stay on my bookshelf.